Luminous Earth Grid - CODAworx

Luminous Earth Grid

Submitted by Stuart Williams

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Client: New York Foundation for the Arts & Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco (Co-Sponsors)

Location: Solano County, California, CA, United States

Completion date: 1993

Artwork budget: $500,000

Project Team

Artist

STUART WILLIAMS

Photo Documentation

Skip Durbin

Starts Friday

Photo Documentation

Craig Collins

Craig Collins Photography

Co-Sponsor (fiscal sponsorship)

New York Foundation for the Arts

Co-Sponsor (fiscal sponsorship)

Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco

Funder

Rene and Veronica di Rosa Foundation. Napa, CA

Funder

LEF Foundation, St. Helena, CA

Funder

Pacific Gas & Electric, San Francisco, CA

Funder

Calistoga Mineral Water, Calistoga, CA

Funder

Sylvania

Funder

Cockayne Fund, NYC & Louisville, KY

Funder

CC Electric, Walnut Creek, CA

Overview

Eight football fields in expanse, 1,680 1.3-meter fluorescent lamps form a perfect square grid sweeping over rolling hills 80 kilometers north of San Francisco. Said Williams, “I see this project as a poetic vision for the potential harmony between technology and the environment. The glowing green grid can be seen as an icon of computer imaging technology, which in this real life incarnation gently melds with the flowing contours of a lovely landscape… a dream-like vision of symbiotic unity.”

Luminous Earth Grid took place years ago, but continues to draw increasing attention in social media and fine art books. This was a temporary installation but its impact has persisted and grown. It’s spotlighted in “Art Installations: A Visual Guide,” Roads Publishing (Dublin) who call their book “an exploration of the most significant highlights of installation art since the 1960s.” It’s also featured in a large format book launched in Paris in spring 2022 by ERG Media (London) and Porsche (Stuttgart) who describe the project as a “groundbreaking vision.” Since this installation, the need for an accelerated transition to green technologies has become painfully obvious with the rapidly worsening climate crisis. It seems today’s reality is leading to rising interest in this work of art.

Goals

As an artist, I’m interested in contrasts; natural and man-made, real and surreal, rural and urban. But those contrasts do not need to have anything to do with being separate or apart. In fact, it is the underlying and perennial interconnectedness of all things that is of the highest interest to me. Many have long thought of technology as evil and the natural environment as good. But when they are brought together in a thoughtful and compatible way, the whole truly becomes greater than the sum of the parts.

Process

Major Funders & Contributors: LEF Foundation, St. Helena, CA; Rene and Veronica Di Rosa Foundation, Napa, CA; Sylvania; Pacific Gas & Electric; Express Lighting Supply; CC Electric; Calistoga Mineral Water; Anheuser Busch. Cosponsors: New York Foundation for the Arts & Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco. Major participants: an installation crew of 200 and a team of 6 electricians. A 6-ton extension cable was strung down the mountainside and hooked into existing power lines along the freeway to bring power to the energy-efficient grid of lamps. That solid copper extension cable — the diameter of a man’s forearm — was valued at $50,000, and was loaned to the project by the U.S. Naval Shipyards in Vallejo, California. Over a five year period, Williams launched a rigorous fund raising campaign throughout Northern California, and raised nearly $500,000 in cash and in-kind contributions to realize the massive project. It was acclaimed by critics around the globe and drew tens of thousands of visitors. Prominently perched in the hills above an adjacent freeway linking San Francisco and Sacramento, it was highly visible to the more than 250,000 motorists passing by the site every 24 hours.

Additional Information

•“A fusion of nature, technology and art... it emanated a sense of the romantic sublime with its aura of surprise and wonder.” – [Peter Selz, curator, MoMA New York]. •“Our emotional connection to an increasingly technologically dominated life would not be addressed by most artists until years later. This makes the Luminous Earth Grid by American artist, Stuart Williams, all the more remarkable.” – [iGNANT, Berlin art blog]. •“It is the most ambitious work of environmental art in the San Francisco Bay Area since Christo’s Running Fence. It is a joyful thing.” – [Allan Temko, Pulitzer Prize-winning critic, San Francisco Chronicle]. •“The grid covers such a vast area that designing, assembling and powering a project like this is a mammoth task. The finished product however is beautifully impactful, and so is its message.” – [ERG Media, London]. “Luminous Earth Grid,” ©Stuart Williams. All Rights Reserved. You can see all Williams’ work at www.stuartwilliamsart.com